When unexpected natural disasters (floods, fires, hurricanes) happen, many times people have to flee their home immediately. They have no time to pack. That is why people are urged to have an emergency go bag ready at all times. Clothing can take up most of the space in the bag because of the number of items needed. To minimize this problem, it has been suggested to purchase two complete outfits (including underwear) made of merino wool. One outfit is to wear and the other is to pack. It is hard to believe, but just two outfits will be enough.
Most people are not familiar with merino wool or the sheep the wool comes from. Merino sheep are of medium size, beautiful in appearance, strong, hardy, and excellent foragers. The sheep live in the mountainous regions of Spain, Australia, and New Zealand. The high-altitude areas where they live range in temperature from zero to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The wool (like our hair) does not stop growing. A minimum of once a year, breeders shear their sheep. If they don’t, the sheep will get heat stress, mobility issues, and even blindness.
Hikers love clothing made from merino wool. Here are the reasons why:
The wool absorbs all odor molecules so it is a natural deodorant. (One less item to pack in your go bag.)
The clothes do not need to be washed after each wearing. People hang the pieces outside and let the sun and breeze freshen them for the next wearing. (No need to go to a laundromat.)
When the clothing is washed, let it air dry. The wool releases water quickly, so in no time at all it is ready to wear again.
Another great feature of merino wool is it is wrinkle resistant. Before wearing, shake the piece of clothing and rub your hands over the fabric. This natural iron works even if the clothes have been in the go bag for a long period of time.
People who are allergic to wool have no problem wearing merino wool. Its hypoallergenic fiber is soft on the skin and will not break the skin out or cause it to itch.
Whatever the temperature, everyone needs to be aware of UV radiation from the sun. Merino wool has a natural UV barrier.
Clothing made from merino wool keeps people warm in cold months. The moisture vapors condense inside the fiber which causes heat to be given off. When the temperatures rise, the fibers in the wool absorb the body’s moisture vapors and evaporate them outside of the fabric. This keeps people wearing merino wool clothing cool in hot weather. (Merino wool clothing can be worn year-round, it’s like a natural body temperature regulator.)
To the average person, merino wool seems expensive. One piece of clothing made from merino wool could cost as much as many people spend on three or more pieces of the same clothing item made out of a less expensive fabric But, when you factor into the cost of the clothing all the benefits listed above, they should justify the expense of each piece.
There will be more suggestions for necessary items for go bags in future blogs.